Black Abyss for JR Cigars; Cigar review

abyssThe Black Abyss is a brand-new handrolled premium cigar crafted by José “Jochy” Blanco for JR cigars. The cigar is handmade at Tabacalera Palma in the Dominican Republic.

Black Abyss is available in four vitolas: Banshee – (5 x 50), CERBERUS – (6 x 60), Hydra (6 x 52 (torpedo)) and Wraith – (6 x 52). The cigars are sold in boxes of 20.

I received one cigar of each size for review purposes from the manufacturer. I smoked all but the 6×60 for two reasons; 1) I really don’t care for that size and 2) I don’t think 6 x 60 is a good representation of a cigars blend.

The blend for the Black Abyss is comprised of a San Andres Maduro wrapper, a Coroji binder and a combination of Cuban Seed Criollo 98/Olor/Dominicano/Piloto Cubano fillers.

The Maduro wrapper is dark brown in color with minimal veins and visible seams. I picked up on aromas of sweet tobacco and hay from the wrapper and earthy, sweet aromas on the finished foot with slight amount of ammonia. The cigar had a smoothly applied cap and was firm to the touch.

I clipped the cap and gave the cigar a pre-light draw. There was some resistance to the draw and a raisin flavor from the filler tobaccos.

During the first third of the Black Abyss, I felt a strong peppery spice sensation in my sinuses during the exhale and mostly basic tobacco flavor with a slightly bitter finish on my palate.

While in the second third, the spice sensation remained the same and the tobacco flavors became stronger on my palate with a longer, lingering finish.

The final third of this cigar had a much stronger spice sensation that tingled my nose on the exhale. On my palate there were strong notes of pepper and tobacco that coated my palate. The finish was strong and lingering.

The cigar developed a firm, tight white ash that lasted a good 2 inches before falling off for the first time. The burn line was even with a thin carbon ring. The Black Abyss produced a good amount of satisfying smoke.

I would consider this cigar to be medium to full strength and full bodied. It had excellent qualities and flavors and I enjoyed the smoking experience. On a 100 point scale, I would rate this cigar as a 90.

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La Aurora 107 Maduro Lancero aka “Bow Tie”; Cigar review

bowtieThis week, I am reviewing the La Aurora 107 Maduro Lancero, nicknamed the “Bow Tie”. It is a regional release to the Southeast of the US. It was chosen by by Miami Cigar and named the Bow Tie because their Southeast rep, Austin Baker almost always wears a bowtie.

I received the samples for this review directly from Miami Cigar & Co.

The blend is comprised of a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, a Dominican Corojo binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler.

The CT Broadleaf wrapper is a dark brown in color, shows some veins and is rustic in appearance. I can smell a rich, sweet tobacco aroma from the wrapper and a sweet fruit scent from the finished foot of the cigar. The cap of the lancero sports a short pigtail. The cigar is firm to the touch.

The pre-light draw is firm and has a sweet fruit flavor as well.

I must admit that the La Aurora 107 is one of my favorite cigars and I was very much looking forward to smoking this maduro blend.

Once I light the cigar and take my first few puffs, I am immediately hit with a big peppery blast in my sinuses. In comparison, on my palate, there is mellow tobacco and a sweet flavor on my lips from the wrapper.

Moving into the second third of the cigar, the pepper sensation in my sinuses seems to mellow a bit but, it does linger for quite a bit. On my palate, in addition to the mellow tobacco, I pick up on some bitter chocolate notes.

The final third of the cigar seems to pull a 180 and I pick up on a mild, smooth sensation in my sinuses and sweetness with a faint peppery flavor on my palate.

The burn on this cigar was slightly scalloped but even. There was a thin carbon ring behind the tight, white ash. The ash dropped for the first time at around the 1 ½” mark. The cigar produced a good amount of smoke that had an aroma of dry hay.

I would classify the La Aurora Lancero Maduro as a medium to strong, full bodied cigar. My smoking experience with the cigar was excellent and very enjoyable.

On a 100 point scale I give this cigar a 92.

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Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars makes another bold move by hiring Jack Toraño

Duran logoRoberto Pelayo Duran is proud to announce that Jack Toraño of the Toraño cigar family will now oversee sales in Florida and the Caribbean for Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars. This announcement comes only days after the announcement of the hiring of Miguel Shoedel and Frank Cuden.

Jack Toraño spent 3 years with Toraño Family Cigar Company as Director of Marketing until its acquisition by General Cigars.

Roberto Pelayo Duran said: “Jack Toraño was an integral part of Toraño Family Cigar Company and we are ecstatic to have him on board at Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar Company. Jack is very well known as he has travelled extensively and his popularity, charisma and four generations of tobacco heritage will go very far in helping us expand our brand.”

Jack Toraño said: “I wanted to take the time to find the company that matches my vision. I am excited to be working with Roberto Pelayo Duran who is as passionate about cigars as I am. Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars is truly a boutique cigar company which owns its tobacco fields and creates their own cigars. The fact that we will be involved in everything from tobacco field all the way to the valued customer is what brought me here. Roberto Duran is creating a stellar team and I am happy to call Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars my new home.

Roberto P. Duran began his life’s work in his homeland of Havana, Cuba where tobacco grabbed a hold of him, and never let go. Supervising the production of cigar manufacturing in Cuba was only the beginning as he later went on to assemble and managedistribution of all Cuban cigar brands for Asia at The Pacific Cigar Company Ltd. The creation of Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars has given Roberto the platform to introduce a brand of cigars that offer the same quality, construction, and detail which he exceeded from those he supervised while in Cuba. Roberto P. Duran’s brands include Azan Cigars, Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar, Neya, and Baracoa.

For more information about Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars, please visit

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La Aurora to donate 11 cents for every picture received via social media in support of the fight against diabetes

La Aurora celebrates 111th Anniversary with their “Become part of the family” campaign. All the money will be donated to the “Patronato de Lucha contra la Diabetes de Santiago de los Caballero.”

ADSOne picture, eleven cents: #LA111th. La Aurora turns 111 years old today and wants to celebrate with all the smokers in the world, inviting them to toast with Guillermo and Michelle León in celebration of such a special date. That being a reason to celebrate is also a reason to “give back.”  The company has announced a target to collect funds for one of the social programs supported by La Aurora. For every picture received by the brand’s social media, 11 cents will be donated to the Patronato de Lucha contra la Diabetes de Santiago de los Caballeros, a local institution that fights against diabetes disease. La Aurora will also use all the pictures received to adorn their tabaquería, in the factory, in an effort to make everyone feel part of La Aurora Family. The campaign “Become part of the family” invites everyone to have their own picture hung in La Aurora’s facilities and we want to fill it all!

La Aurora is a family and we want to invite all our friends from all around the world to join our family on this very special day in which we accomplish 111 years of history,” said Guillermo León, president of La Aurora. “We want to share the joy of this celebration with all our employees, our International distributors, the tobacco shops and with all smokers and friends, with a double challenge. We aim to fill the factory walls with the pictures of so many friends and make a generous contribution to the research of such a cruel disease as diabetes.”

The hash tags that will be used to collect the pictures, on Twitter, Face book ( and Instagram are #LA111th.

La Aurora’s commitment is to keep everyone informed about their progress and the evolution of the factory walls. Become part of the family…

About La Aurora Cigars

La Aurora is the original cigar factory in Dominican Republic. Its master craftsman roll the best quality premium cigars since 1903, 111 years ago today. Located in Santiago de los Caballeros, the premium cigar capital of the world, La Aurora is a family owned company headed by Guillermo León, a fourth generation tobacco artisan, and is a symbol for all the Dominican people.

About the Patronato de Lucha contra la Diabetes

Between 8% and 10% of the global population is affected by diabetes, a disease that has turned into a world health problem, as it is not about social or economic level to develop it. Till now, there has been no programs to prevent and educate people about the fight against this disease in Dominican Republic nor to help people affected by it. Known as the “Epidemic of the century”, this disease has no cure and its treatment costs are very high. The Patronato de Lucha Contra la Diabetes de Santiago is a NGO created to help and service people affected by diabetes with poor economic resources in Cibao Region.

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Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars announces new National Sales Manager

Duran logoThe cigar industry has been abuzz recently with major brands making major changes. Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars is no different.  The company has now added Miguel Schoedel (previously at Toraño Family Cigar Company) as their National Sales Manager. Duran is also announcing the hiring of another former Toraño territory manager, Frank Cuden.

These new talent acquisitions are seemingly only the beginning of what’s to be a major growth spurt for Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars. After the unveiling of the super-premium Roberto P. Duran Cigar, Neya, and Baracoa cigar brands at the 2014 IPCPR, Roberto feels it is now time to add a little muscle to the sales force to coincide with the companies continued expansion.

Miguel Schoedel was a stand-out component within the sales team at CAO. He spent the last four years with Toraño Family Cigar Company, where he was promoted to National Sales Manager.

Roberto P. Duran said: “I am very happy with the growth of Roberto P Duran Premium Cigars and with that growth is the need for top notch personals to help carry the brand forward. Miguel Schoedel is a perfect fit for our company as he comes with a stellar resume. He is tireless and as passionate about tobacco as I am. I am also very happy to announce the hiring of respected industry professional, Frank Cuden, who will strongly bolster our ability expose our brands throughout the U.S. market. “

Miguel Schoedel said: “I feel that the back bone of the industry is still the family owned cigar companies. I have made my 11 year career working for families like the Ozgeners, Toraño’s, and now very proudly joining the Duran Family. What makes Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar Company special is the fact that the company owns its factories, encompassing cigar rolling and processing to also having its own wrapper plantation, which is great. We are led by Roberto P. Duran a man that has 23 years of cigar industry experience from the markets of Cuba, Hong Kong, Germany and Canada. Roberto P. Duran and Azan cigars breathe authenticity; in an industry that of late is being taken over by corporate and industrial cigar companies.”

Miguel Schoedel will oversee the sales force while maintaining his home base in the Mid-West Region. Frank Cuden will manage South-East.

Roberto P. Duran began his life’s work in his homeland of Havana, Cuba where tobacco grabbed a hold of him, and never let go. Supervising the production of cigar manufacturing in Cuba was only the beginning as he later went on to assemble and managedistribution of all Cuban cigar brands for Asia at The Pacific Cigar Company Ltd. The creation of Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars has given Roberto the platform to introduce a brand of cigars that offer the same quality, construction, and detail which he exceeded from those he supervised while in Cuba. Roberto P. Duran’s brands include Azan Cigars, Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar, Neya, and Baracoa.

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The Guayabera Lady Foundation and The Fuente family proudly announces the 3rd annual “Havana Nights”




Miami is no stranger to amazing events. But few are charged with such a powerful message and such a dynamic group of supporters. The Inaugural Havana Nights – “A Fuente Family Affair” event was held in 2012. The fete was unforgettable to many, as it was also one of the largest fundraising events held for the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation.  With great pleasure is the announcement of the 3rd Annual Havana NightsA Fuente Family Affair, taking place Saturday, October 25th, 2013 from 7PM-1AM at Neo Vertika located at 690 SW 1st Court, Miami, FL 33130.

Presented by The Guayabera Lady Foundation, this event is being held to support the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation and promises to be bigger and better than last year; with an outstanding array of entertainment, Bacardi cocktails, libations and live music. As if that wasn’t enough, guests can enjoy a raffle and silent auction featuring a huge selection of luxury items as well as unique collectibles all donated by supportive sponsors all over the map.

The event is once again being hosted by the “World Renowned” Guayabera Lady, Mrs. Berta R. Bravo.  Beloved by many, and recognized for dressing many notables, Berta again welcomes everyone to attend the festivities and reminds: “it’s all for a wonderful cause.”

Expected guests will include: local VIPs and celebrities, cigar aficionados from across the country, city officials, and supporters from various walks of life that will make for an entertaining and fulfilling evening of great music, great food and great company.   Don Carlos Fuente Sr. will be in attendance.

Tickets to the gala are $125 per person and $200 per couple. To pay by credit card please log onto – or you may call: 786-287-6664.

Checks must be made payable to The Guayabera Lady Foundation and mailed to:  The Guayabera Lady – Attention:  Havana Nights – 4832 S.W. 72nd Avenue, Miami, FL. 33155. Suggested attire: Black and red “Guayabera Chic” in honor of Carlos Suarez Fuente.

Please follow us via social media on Face book, Twitter and Instagram using hash tag #HavanaNightsMia

Sponsors include: Hublot, Robb Report, Sushi Sake, Sweet Treats by Marta, Cigar Snob Magazine, and Coca-Cola


The Cigar Family Charitable Foundation is a 501(c) (3) charitable non-profit organization. The foundation’s mission is to provide a significant humanitarian impact to communities in the Dominican Republic resulting in a better quality of life to those who experience a lack of education, poor access to health care and nutrition and who have little or no sustainable employment. CF-CF in 2001 the Fuente and Newman families created the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. The Foundation partnered with Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral (IDDI), a Dominican based nonprofit organization that for the past 30 years has been fighting poverty by providing training and skills necessary to make a positive change for those living in both urban and rural regions of the Dominican Republic.


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JM’s Nicaraguan Is latest value-priced 100% Tobacco, Handmade Premium Cigar from JM Tobacco

JM´s NicaragauanJM Tobacco, Inc., pioneers in value-priced premium cigars, just debuted their latest premium cigar, JM’s Nicaraguan.  The hand-made Cuban sandwich construction consists of 100% choice tobaccos.

JM’s Nicaraguans join the company’s existing “JM’s” brand value-priced cigars, which are available in four different wrappers … Sumatra, Corojo, Connecticut and Maduro.  JM’s Nicaraguan is offered in Sumatra and Maduro wrappers.  Its name is derived from the all-Nicaraguan filler.  The binder is a maduro-fermented Connecticut broadleaf.  The medium-bodied Nicaraguan delivers a creamy-smooth smoke, with hints of nuts and chocolate.  Company president Anto Mahroukian describes the Nicaraguan as a “sweet smoke, with a flavor and body that are tailored to the three-to-four-a-day smoker.  The Nicaraguan’s price tag is no deterrent, at less than $3.00 MSRP.”  The cigar is available in the same eight shapes as all other JM’s value-priced cigars, from 5.5″ x 42 Corona to 6.75″ x 62 Gordo Grande.  Like all JM’s selections, the Nicaraguan comes punch-cut and 50 cigars to a box, except for the large-girth Gordos … their boxes hold 24.

In announcing the Nicaraguan, Mahroukian cites the completion of JM’s program to unify the features of the five JM’s product category, stating, “All the box art … graphics and text … is identical between the lines, varying only in their color combinations for easy identification.  The Nicaraguan is yellow, with blue trim … the Nicaraguan flag’s colors.  Everything else is consistent across the JM’s series … box graphics and text, shapes, manufacturer’s suggested retail prices and box counts.  We’ve made it easier for smokers to identify our individual products.”  JM’s Nicaraguan value-priced cigars in all shapes are available at press time.

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Joya de Nicaragua’s Joya Red; Cigar review

Joya photoAnnounced in early June of this year, the Joya Red is the latest release from Joya de Nicaragua. Marketed as a milder blend compared to other Joya’s and at a lower price point, I get the sense that Joya de Nicaragua s going after the casual smoker who perhaps enjoys a cigar on the golf course.

This Nicaraguan Puro’s blend is comprised of a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan Binder and filler tobaccos from the Estelí, Jalapa and Condega regions.

The Joya Red is presented in four vitolas: a Short Churchill (4 ¾ x 48), a Robusto ( 5 ¼ x 50), a Toro (6 x 52) and the Cardinal ( 5 ½ x 54). They are sold in boxes of twenty.

I received the cigars used in this review from Joya de Nicaragua.

Taking a look at the cigar, the Joya Red’s wrapper is tan in color with prominent veins and barely perceptible seams. The wrapper’s aroma had notes of leather and tobacco. The cap was well formed and neat. The finished foot had an aroma of sweet berry and earth.

The cigar was mostly firm with a few soft spots and felt very lightweight in my hand.

After clipping the cap, the pre-light draw was easy with no resistance and had a sweet flavor with a hint of raisin.

The first third of the cigar has a very mild sensation in my sinuses in comparison to the peppery tobacco I picked up on my palate. The finish on the first third was a little on the mild side.

During the second third, there was an increase in the spice sensation as I exhaled and some rich coffee notes and a lively pepper sensation on my tongue.

At the end of this smoke, the spice sensation remained the same in my sinuses while the flavors on my palate changed to a rich tobacco with a medium lingering finish.

The Joya Red burned evenly and had a thin carbon ring. The white ash held its shape very well with only a slight flake. The ash dropped for the first time after 2 inches of growth. The cigar also produced a good amount of smoke.

Overall, this mild to medium strength, medium bodied cigar was very enjoyable and I would smoke this line again.

On a 100 point scale, I give the Joya Red an 88.

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Latest updates to Arango’s “Clasico” Premium Cigar Series: CAO Gold

CAO Gold ClasicoThe long-popular “CAO Gold” blend of cigars has now joined the other benchmark premium cigars in Arango Cigar Co.’s Clasico series of private label brands.  All Clasico brands are exclusive to Arango.  They are sold only at brick and mortar shops, not through mail order or Internet sales.

CAO Gold Clasico is made by General Cigar Company using similar tobaccos, wrappers and binders as the regular-market CAO Gold.  The box and bands bear the original CAO Gold artwork, with its iconic entwined “CAO” initials.

CAO Gold Clasico frontmarks, like those of the other Clasico lines, pay tribute to notable Chicagoland areas: Mag Mile (5-1/2 x 44), Windy City (5 x 50), Bucktown (6-1/8 x 52, Belicoso) and Gold Coast (6 x 60).  The tobacco blends on all Clasico lines mirror those of the national brands they are patterned after.  The cigars are presented in space-saving Spanish cedar boxes of 15 cellophane-wrapped cigars.

CAO Gold comes in Natural wrappers only, like all Clasico Series cigars.  Its wrapper is a tawny Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut Shade Leaf.  Both the filler and binder are made of Nicaraguan tobaccos, entubado-bunched  for even, plug-free smoking.

The original CAO Gold has received accolades since its 1996 debut.  The cigars have a sleek appearance and a consistently smooth mild-to-medium body and creamy flavor.  Reviewers have described CAO Gold as “the perfect everyday smoke.”

Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing for Arango CAO Gold Clasicos ranges from $4.75 to $6.70. They are currently available nationwide.

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Gurkha creates private label cigar that garners $30,000 at auction to benefit the Eric Trump Foundation & St. Jude Children’s Hospital

gurkha event

For the sixth year in a row, Gurkha Cigars, makers of the world’s finest and most expensive cigars, have partnered with The Eric Trump Foundation to raise money and awareness for children battling life-threatening diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

This year, they offered a special private label cigar specifically for the Eric Trump Foundation that sold at auction for $30,000, following the golf tournament and fundraising gala. The cigar will be blended and produced specifically for the winner of the auction, who will visit Gurkha Headquarters in Tamarac, FL, in the coming months.

“Children’s charities are near and dear to our heart,” said founder Kaizad Hansotia. “There’s nothing more tragic than to be witness to a child’s suffering.”

“Kaizad is dedicated to giving back. He feels for those in need, especially children,” said Bianca Melone, director of marketing. “That’s why, every year we partner wit the Eric Trump Foundation to advance the medical and emotional needs of terminally-ill children. Annually, we’ve donated auction items upwards of $75,000 and there’s still so much more that we all can do.”

Founded in 2006, The Eric Trump Foundation has donated and pledged nearly $28 million dollars to St. Jude and grown into one of the largest private charities in the country. Through direct personal involvement and financial assistance, they demand that their monetary donations are transformed into real results at St. Jude. By using only Trump-owned and -operated facilities, full-time volunteers, donated food/beverage product & pro-bono celebrity performers, The Eric Trump Foundation maintains one of the lowest expense ratios of any charity in the world. The charity also insists that St. Jude receive nearly all of the monies raised each year and nothing is expended on unnecessary overhead and salaries.

Steeped in legend and rich in history, Gurkha Cigars were named after Nepalese warriors whose bravery impressed the British soldiers. The company was purchased by Kaizad Hansotia in 1989 with the intention of giving the cigars as unique gifts to customers of his family’s watch business. As a result, the company has been reborn and become one of the most famous brands of luxury cigars in the world. Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Carlos Slim and an assortment of global dignitaries, world leaders, government officials and celebrities as well as the Special Forces and Seal Team Six are all clients. Having extraordinary quality, premium blends of tobacco and stunning, award-winning packaging, Gurkha now offers 48 distinct brands of cigars with plans to launch an even rarer and more expensive cigar reputed to be infused with an extraordinary cognac and carrying a price tag of $75,000 a box. The Gurkha Cigar Group Inc. is located at 6600 Hiatus Road, Tamarac, FL 33321. For information,

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